Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1971)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Sex Comedy, Parody/Spoof  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Perry Seibert

Gene Wilder gives one of his very best performances as the doctor who, quite unexpectedly, falls madly in love with a sheep. Comedy in Allen's films usually grows out of neuroses, not out of situation. This segment of the film displays both Wilder's range as an actor and Allen's range as a writer. The concluding segment, with Allen as a sperm, may be his purest declaration of comedic subject matter. For him, life is full of neuroses even before it begins. The best segments, like Allen's most accomplished pieces of short fiction, are perfect comedic gems that present not only a funny situation, but manage to find the humanity in them. Some of the premises are not developed beyond their initial setup. The sexual perversion variation of What's My Line? is a humorous concept, but not much else. The segment that parodies Antonioni works as an homage to the source, but doesn't really complement the subject matter in any meaningful way. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask is certainly uneven, but since the film is nothing more than a series of blackout sketches, this is not too harmful. The good stuff ends perfectly, while the less than stellar material ends quickly enough that one never tires of the film.